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Home of the Aluminum Bottle 

One year old, Portland's Base Camp Brewing puts down stakes in Bend for beer dinner

click to enlarge bc_bottles.jpg

Joseph Dallas

Can or bottle?

In the ongoing contest as to which brewery can produce the best-looking, most appropriate vessel for its beer, Portland's Base Camp Brewing Company has made an interesting new entry. Neither a can nor a bottle, the now one-year-old, adventure-themed brewery offers its beers in 22-ounce aluminum cans that are shaped like bottles and come fitted with the traditional bottle cap.

The reason for the unorthodox approach, according to Base Camp representatives, is predictable: the can/bottle hybrid is best for the beer. But it's not all advertising voodoo. The innovative Meheen Manufacturing aluminum bottling process allows for a longer shelf life—a reported six months—and ensures exactly zero oxygen creeps in and mingles with the brew. Plus, the aluminum package comes with all the known advantages of a craft can—tastier, greener, colder, lighter, portable.

But what really matters is how the beer tastes. And the one I tried—Ripstop Rye Pils, a refreshing spicy rye malt version of the classic German pilsner—passed the test with aplomb. With a fluffy, foamy head and a clean, straw-colored pour, the Ripstop was as good a pilsner as I've had, albeit a more pleasantly hop-ped up one (52 IBUs, 5.7% ABV).

Aside from the tasty beer and interesting container—which, as good as it looks, unfortunately reminds us of the briefly popular Bud Light aluminum can line—the brewery is capitalizing on Oregon's love of the outdoors. With names like Ripstop, Carabiner Cream Ale, In-Tents (get it?) India Pale Lager and Out-of-Bounds Brown and with topographical maps providing the background for its canning line, Base Camp (whose logo sports a campfire in the "A" of "Camp") is counting on adventure selling.

It seems to be working. Last week the brewery celebrated its one-year anniversary and hosted packed events all week at its Portland Pub. Try Base Camp in Bend next week at Broken Top Bottle Shop's five-course Base Camp beer dinner, which features BTBS's first collaboration beer, Break Camp Wit. Made with coriander and orange and aged in chardonnay oak barrels, it'll be served alongside a coconut red curry soup.

Around the World Brewer's Dinner

with Base Camp Brewing Company

7 pm Thursday, Nov. 14

Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café;

1740 NW Pence Lane, Suite 1

$50, limited space. Make reservations in person or by calling 541-728-0703.

Menu represents foods from five countries, all paired with different Base Camp beers.

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